Installing a WordPress theme is really easy – all you need is the theme, a web browser and, if you are doing this for the first time, easy to follow instructions.
Changing themes can sometimes cause problems because the new theme may display content in different places to the old theme. Things like menus and sidebars may move to another location or disappear altogether.
Types of WordPress Theme
There are two types of theme – free and premium.
Free themes are available from lots of different places, including the Free WordPress Themes directory. The directory is accessible through the WordPress admin area or here, and it is the best place for free themes. Premium themes are available from third party companies such as WooThemes, Elegant Themes and StudioPress, and usually come with a reasonable price tag.
Which is best, a free or premium theme?
Free themes are fine for a personal site, but if you use WordPress for a business site I think a premium theme is a wise investment. They are designed by professional designers and coded by experts, this means you get a great looking site for a fraction of the cost of a bespoke design.
If you use a free theme, be sure to only use one from a trusted site.
There are two ways to add themes to WordPress that don’t need any other software, such as an FTP program. One is by downloading a theme from the free themes directory and the second is by uploading a zip file from your computer.
Read on to find out how use both of these methods.
How to install a WordPress theme from the free themes directory
Navigate to Appearance > Themes and click on the Install Themes tab
In a brand new installation you will see this:
At the top of the page there are a few links that take you to some of the best themes (in the Featured section), new additions (in the Newest section) and recently updated themes (in the Recently Updated section). At this stage ignore the Upload link.
If you prefer, you can search the free themes directory by adding keywords into the box, or ticking the buttons next to the features you want.
Go ahead and play with it – see what you can find…
When you find a theme you like, click on the image or Preview link to see what it looks like with content. When you find one you like, click on Install. A small window appears on-screen which has information about the theme; the author, version number and name.
If you still want to go ahead, click on Install Now.
You will see something like this:
Clicking the Preview link lets you see what the theme looks like on your site with your content. The Activate links activates the theme, and if you want to change your mind at this stage, click on Return to Theme Installer to continue the search.
When you activate a theme, what you see on the next screen depends entirely on the chosen theme and the way it is set-up.
How to install a WordPress theme from your computer
Navigate to Appearance > Themes > Install Themes > Upload
**Zip files only**
Click on Choose File and navigate to the folder on your computer where you are storing the zipped file. When you find the file, click on Install Now.
You will see a message like this:
Clicking the Preview link lets you see what the theme looks like on your site with your content. The Activate links activates the theme. Return to Themes page takes you back to the theme management page.
That’s how to install a WordPress theme.